October 24-25: Hanging Out in Daejeon
The final weekend in October I went up to Daejeon, just under an hour from Seoul and almost 2.5 hours from Busan (me) by KTX, to visit friends. To my surprise, I realized this was the first time I’ve traveled to another city in Korea just for the sake of seeing someone. Other times, there’s always been a festival, event or work involved. It makes me feel a little self-centered or like a workaholic, which might not be entirely untrue. We met up at Shannon’s place in Daejeon as a sort of pre-Halloween hangout, since the following weekend, most ETAs would be in Seoul for the weekend.
I opted to take the ITX for the first time, because I wasn’t in a hurry and Shannon had recommended it. It took about right around 3 hours, and since the train isn’t as fast as the KTX, there are fewer tunnels and barriers set up along its route. In late October, this made for really pleasant scenery. I especially loved passing Cheongdo, which is famous for its persimmons. Most of the leaves on the persimmon trees had fallen off by this time, leaving only the bright red-orange fruit. It’s a beautiful sight that I’m really not doing justice to. Neither does this blurry picture, but all the orange blurs that look like leaves are actually persimmons.
In Daejeon, we basically ate and talked all weekend. It was relaxing not being on a schedule and just letting someone show me around a new place. Although my commute was pretty long, it was worth it for me to get out of the house and spend time with good people. And bake mini pumpkin pies. That was also well, well worth it.
The weekend really forced me to slow down. There were multiple times when we thought up things we could do, and later I’d find myself thinking, we won’t have time to do that if we don’t get moving soon, but in the end, it really didn’t matter. We didn’t have to do anything. After running around and being constantly busy with not only regular school duties but extracurricular activities at school, Fulbright work for YDAC, coordinating the Support Network and preparing for Fall Conference, it felt almost wrong to spend more than three hours just chatting at a cafe. That being said, it was a cafe with real bagels and cream cheese.
We had a delicious brunch the next morning, before I hopped on the slow train and began my four hour commute back to Busan. The persimmons on the way back were still just as beautiful. Can I live in Cheongdo next year?
Busan Station was looking festive when I returned.